The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom: Book Review

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven  By Mitch Albom
Publication: October 9th by Harper
224 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon 

From Publisher: In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

My Thoughts: I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since Mitch Albom published The Five People You Meet in Heaven ! That book has always stuck with me so I wouldn’t have guessed it’s been that long. In The Next Person You Meet in Heaven , Albom tells Annie’s story, the little girl Eddie (who was killed) saved one day at an amusement park. If you haven’t read the first book I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary as Albom does a really good job of providing some backstory in this one but I do think my reading enjoyment was greater having read the first one. I actually realized I remembered more about the first book than I thought.

Obviously, if we’re getting Annie’s story you know something has happened to her for her to end up in heaven. I loved that Album starts the story with Annie’s story while she’s still alive, it allowed me to get to know her as she was but also created suspense because I knew what was going to eventually happen but Annie didn’t…and I really liked her! Albom structures the story alternating brief glimpses of Annie’s childhood with her journey in heaven and I LOVED this! I was equally invested in both parts of the story because of how Albom created interconnections. That may seem like a vague reason but you’ll understand when you read the story.

A couple other things really stood out to me: Albom’s creative vision of heaven and the fact that he can sneak a twist into a story when I least expected it. Well done. This book is the perfect length for a one sit read but, honestly, I would’ve loved for it to be longer and I don’t often say that about a book. I’m still thinking about parts of this story days later, especially Albom’s take on fate in our lives

Had he taken the truck, this story would be different. Had the limousine driver remembered to bring a bag that was sitting by his apartment door, this story would be different. The tale of your life is written second by second, as shifting as the flip of a pencil to an eraser

If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, bittersweet story that just might give you much to contemplate, give this a try. My last advice: have tissues handy!

Many thanks to HarperCollins via Netgalley for my copy

 

5 on Friday: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately

Welcome to 5 on Friday, a little list of things I’m enjoying lately.  I got this idea from Tim Ferris who sends out his 5 Bullet Friday posts to all his email subscribers and Laura Tremaine’s Secret Posts. If you’re interested you can check out Tim’s website at Tim.blog and Laura’s at 10thingstotellyou.com . I thought it would be fun to do a short and simple posts of things I’m enjoying lately. Every week you’ll find different content…could be books I’m reading, movies, tv, recipes, quotes, articles, household items etc….anything I’m enjoying to pass along in the hope that you might also find something you’d like.

 

Instagram #Bookstagram Account I Love Following
Dennis at Scaredstraightreads Not only does Dennis review books, he has some very funny Instagram stories. I always look forward to his posts

Book Review That Has Me Wanting to Read a Book That Wasn’t on My Radar
Susie at NovelVisits Review of Waiting for Eden  I challenge you to read Susie’s review of this book and not add it to your tbr as well. This sounds like such a unique story

This Gem of Advice (from Bookrioter Abby Hargreaves) is Going to Change My Reading Life! 
How to Keep Library Ebooks Longer (and the drawbacks)  I had no idea there was a library hack that enables us to keep our ebooks longer. I needed this info! I read almost exclusively on my kindle and I’ve scrambled one too many times to finish a book at the last minute before it vanishes into Overdrive

Article I Enjoyed from NBCNews.com (and a term I’d never heard of but practice regularly) 
How the Simple Act of Nature Helps You Destress I walk in the woods just about everyday, year round, so I can relate to this article. I think walking in the woods is one of the most relaxing things I do. I’ll take nature, even in freezing cold whether, over the gym any day.

Movie That Will Be My Favorite of the Year
A Star is Born  I can’t say enough about how fantastic this movie was! You guys, LADY GAGA, wow. That’s all I’ll say and Bradley Cooper was amazing. Go see it. Bring Tissues.

Have A Great Weekend!

Us by David Nicholls: Throwback Thursday Book of the Week

Throwback Thursday is a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published months or years ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them.  I like that these older backlist books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere!

MY PICK THIS WEEK IS: 

Us  by David Nicholls
Publication: October 28, 2014 by Harper
400 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy On Amazon
 

From PublisherUs is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger.

My Thoughts:
The short of it…I loved this book!  Douglas Petersen, a 54-year-old biochemist, is awoken in the middle of the night by his wife of 24 years, Connie, a 52-year-old former artist turned art gallery employee. Douglas assumes Connie is worried about burglars again and sets off to check  the house. But it’s not burglars she’s concerned about — it’s their marriage. Connie believes their marriage has “run its course” and tells Douglas (who’s madly in love with his wife) she wants a divorce after their son, Albie, leaves for college in October. And just like that, the story is off and running.

Douglas convinces his wife not to cancel their Grand Tour of Europe with their son (one last family vacation before college) in the hopes that he’ll be able to make his wife fall back in love with him.  The narrative flows with 180 short chapters that have catchy titles like “On Practical Ethics in the Breakfast Buffet System” (this one is hysterical). The chapters alternate between the present-day Grand Tour and flashbacks of Douglas and Connie’s early days. Can you say opposites attract? Douglas is a type A, by-the-book type of guy. Connie has always been a free spirit who feels she has lost herself over the years.  As a result, she seems to have a case of “I love you; I’m just not IN love with you anymore.”

I enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this story but it’s Douglas I was rooting for. Through his triumphs and missteps with his wife and son throughout the Grand Tour, you will laugh and sometimes cringe, but you will always be entertained. Nicholls cleverly puts him through some tricky situations that beg the question: Is Douglas going to bend or break?

This ended up being a one-sit read for me. Once you get to know these characters, you’ll have to learn how it all turns out for them. Will it ultimately be a story of the inevitable failure of an opposites-attract marriage to go the distance? Or will it be a tale of – that which doesn’t kill us (i.e. marriage, children, family vacations) makes us stronger and keeps us together? You’ll have to read Us  to find out.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

ALL YOUR PERFECTS By Colleen Hoover: REVIEW

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Published July 17th by Atria Books

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people

*****

Hi Everyone, I know it’s been awhile and I’ll be back soon with a summer update on what I’ve been reading but for now I wanted to share my review for this fantastic new release by one of my new favorite authors…

Back in April I had gushed about Colleen Hoover’s books and I have to say, I still feel that there’s something so quietly addictive to the way she tells a story. You just know you’re going to become immersed in the character’s lives and for better or worse she’s going to put those characters through the ringer and perhaps break your heart in the process. All Your Perfects is no exception. In it, she takes a long, intricate look at marriage and what happens when people and circumstances change over the course of time. We meet Quinn and Graham who’re brought together in the unlikeliest of circumstances when their lives just so happen to take unexpected turns at the same time. Fate seems to have intervened for them and we get to watch their story unfold with a Then and Now narrative. I’m not always a fan of this type of back and forth narrative but in Hoover’s hands it works and it works well. I actually think this style of narrative works so well for this particular story because we get to see how their love began (Then) along with how it’s falling apart (Now) and this created so much emotional suspense for me that I had to keep turning the pages to see how it all turned out.

Hoover tackles some serious subjects in this story…infertility, infidelity, the evolution of love, sex…all within a marriage that at times seems on the brink of destruction with two people so often in despair. It was compelling storytelling to say the least. What I also found so fascinating was Hoover’s ability to create characters who could at times be so frustrating while also pulling at your heartstrings. Needless to say, I read this in one sitting and I won’t be giving away any plot details because what I’ve discovered about reading Colleen Hoover’s books is half the fun is going into her stories blind. You know you’re going to be surprised in some way and she certainly doesn’t disappoint with this new novel. I still feel like It Ends With Us is my favorite of those I’ve read by her but this is definitely right up there with it. 

Many thanks to Atria Books via Netgalley for my copy

REVIEW: BACHELOR NATION By Amy Kaufman

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Publication March 6, 2018 by Dutton

For fifteen years and thirty-five seasons, the Bachelor franchise has been a mainstay in American TV viewers’ lives. Since it premiered in 2002, the show’s popularity and relevance has only grown–more than eight million viewers tuned in to see the conclusion of the most recent season of The Bachelor.

The iconic reality television show’s reach and influence into the cultural zeitgeist is undeniable. Bestselling writers and famous actors live tweet about it. Die-hard fans–dubbed “Bachelor Nation”–come together every week during each season to participate in fantasy leagues and viewing parties.

Bachelor Nation is the first behind-the-scenes, unauthorized look into the reality television phenomenon.

******

My secret is out….I’m a Bachelor Fan! Of course, my immediate family and a few friends know I love The Bachelor and Bachelorette shows but it’s not something I regularly admit to watching. I know I’m not alone since I’ve been seeing comments for this book pop up on Goodreads from others who start off by saying The Bachelor is their guilty pleasure show. And a secret. Well, Amy Kaufman has now put our #BachelorNation obsession into coherent words with her engaging, witty book. Seriously, how has this show continued season after season, weathering controversy and drama and still manages to bring in millions of viewers each episode?? Amy has your answers.

Friends, I have to say this up front…I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I read it in one sitting on a Friday evening with a large glass of wine and I had the best time. As someone who’s watched the show since Trista and Ryan’s season, so the 2nd season and they’re now on season 35 I believe, I absolutely loved reading about how the show was created (a fluke) and the very interesting behind the scenes details about it’s creators. Amy Kaufman had behind the scenes access to the show for many years until one day it vanished and she was deemed banned from all things Bachelor…makes you say hmmm. I loved her interviews with past contestants and her inside scoop on how the episodes are actually made. I always wondered how the producers were working behind the scenes to get the girls and guys to SAY some of the things that come out of their mouths…now I know and truly I’ll never watch the show the same.

What I especially liked was Amy’s writing and her ability to keep the pace fast and the tone upbeat. I never felt that the book ventured into gossip territory; rather, I found her writing to be intelligent and informative. The only part that I sort of breezed through was the chapter on the history of reality dating shows but I appreciate the background info she was providing to put The Bachelor of today into context. If you’re a fan, secret or otherwise, of The Bachelor/Bachelorette I think you’ll absolutely enjoy this book!

Many thanks to Dutton Books via Netgalley for my copy

REVIEW: I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK By Michelle McNamara

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Publication Feb 27, 2018 By Harper
For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.”

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth.

******

Riveting. Chilling. Fascinating. I could go on with the adjectives to describe this incredible work of nonfiction but you get the idea. It’s very rare that I come across a book, especially a nonfiction one, that literally made my heart race while reading certain scenes. Like others have mentioned, I couldn’t read this at night. To say it’s scary doesn’t seem to do Michelle’s writing justice, but it’s absolutely how I felt while reading about this elusive rapist/killer.  She has created a brilliant work of investigative journalism that was, at times, terrifying, yet utterly gripping to read. I couldn’t put it down. When I wasn’t reading I was busy looking over my shoulder, checking the doors and windows and thinking about all the unsuspecting victims and communities he terrorized . It’s unfathomable on many levels….not just the crimes he committed but how he’s managed to continuously elude authorities. At times, he had been right there in front of them and yet he managed to vanish.

Michelle’s passion for her work and yes her obsession with finding this killer came alive through her evocative prose. I often felt that I was there with her, looking over her shoulder, reading the case files and notes. When the narrative went back in time to the various crime scenes, I felt I was walking alongside the detectives as they hunted this killer. Her writing captured the essence of everyone involved in this story and that includes the killer and his victims. For this reason, there may be many people who may not be able to read the scenes she describes; there is an abundance of rape victims whose stories she delicately details along with the murders he escalated to. This is integral to the story but never gratuitous. She perfectly balanced these details, however, with glimpses of her own life which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. She became a friend who invited me into her world which makes the fact that she died before finishing this book all the more tragic.

Something to keep in mind, the narrative does jump around in time quite often and not always in a sequential order. I’m not sure if this is indicative of the way Michelle was researching the story or that pieces were put together by the editors after her death. However, the fact that I was a little confused at times didn’t take away from the impact of the narrative. I often think the sign of a great book is one that not only teaches me something but also elicits a wide range of feelings within myself; I’ll Be Gone In the Dark has done both. And the ending…perfection.

Many thanks to HarperCollins via Edelweiss for my copy

REVIEW: BURNTOWN By Jennifer McMahon

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Published April 25, 2017 by Doubleday Books

This fantastic cover accurately portrays many elements of this unputdownable novel! You might notice that there’s no blurb for this book and there’s a reason for that. I was truly shocked when I went to Goodreads to get the blurb for this review and read what was written for this book…it’s like a mini story FULL of spoilers so I beg you not to read it if you would at all like to read and enjoy this book! I’m so glad I didn’t read it before diving into this…to say my reading fun would’ve been spoiled is an understatement. I opened this one not even remembering what it was about because I received it so many months ago and I have to say it made for such an exciting, suspenseful read for me.

You may find my review a bit vague but once you read this I think you’ll appreciate that you went into it not really knowing all that much. When the story begins we first hear from young Miles, a ten year old quirky little boy, whose all decked out in his Robin Hood outfit and on a mission to frighten his mom into quitting smoking by replacing the tobacco in her cigarettes with gunpowder…just a small amount mind you. As Miles hides in the nearby brush to watch his mother’s reaction when she lights up, what he ends up seeing is a murder that will shake him to his core and turn his life completely upside down. This is one of the most surprising and creepiest opening scenes I’ve read in a long time…I was immediately hooked on this story!

Time doesn’t move slow in this novel and we are soon immersed in Miles’ life as a teenager then adult and we learn that he has possession of some very special papers his father left to him, specifically blueprints of a special phone that Thomas Edison was working on that enabled you to talk to the dead. Mile’s makes it his mission to build the machine so he can get an answer to a question that’s haunted him for many years.

Fast forward several years and Miles has his own family, a wife and two kids, and life is pretty good…that is, until the night of the Great Flood when the past rears its ugly head and murder once again turns Miles’ life inside out.

What follows the night of the Great Flood is a story filled with suspense, intrigue, and some of the quirkiest types of misfit characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading in such a long time. In fact, the narration alternates between characters…there’s Necco, on the run from a past she slowly realizes was based on lies; Theo, a teenage girl who’s decisions in the name of love lead her down dangerous roads; Pru (my favorite character), an older school cafeteria worker who’s loneliness and obsession with the circus made for utterly fascinating reading; Fred, a wanna be private investigator, and the “fire eaters,” a group of homeless women with some pretty powerful visions. Throw in settings of old abandoned buildings, junkyards, and fireside campsites under the city bridge, add some paranormal elements and what you’ve got is a genre busting exceptional book that kept me up super late reading! Something to keep in mind…suspension of disbelief is needed in certain parts but I had absolutely no problem doing this, it actually increased my enjoyment. If you like mysteries and thrillers loaded with originality and memorable characters, I highly recommend Burntown.

Many thanks to Doubleday Books via Netgalley for my copy of Burntown. I’m happy to provide an honest review.

 

 

 

REVIEW: RAGDOLL By Daniel Cole

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Goodreads
Published April 4, 2017 by Ecco 

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move? 

******
 This is one fun serial killer read! You might think that’s not possible with a story about a serial killer who stitches together body parts of victims and then taunts the police with a kill list and a timeframe for 6 more murders, but believe me it is. This debut novel is creative, original and full of eyebrow raising moments…see how I avoided saying “twisty” because lately when I see that term I often think the opposite and I want you to realize this book REALLY delivers on surprises.  In fact, there are things that the killer pulls off in this book that left me thinking ‘wow.’

The story begins with an action packed prologue in which the Cremation Killer is on trial for burning alive several victims. William “Wolf” Fawkes, who’s hunted the Cremation Killer and is convinced of his guilt,  is in attendance in the courtroom and when the verdict is read…to say chaos ensues is an understatement.

Jump to 4 years later and things are very different. Wolf is called to the scene of a murder in which the victim(s) body parts have been stitched together to make a complete grotesque figure. This little discovery is soon followed by the killer releasing a kill list…the names of the next 6 victims and the date they will die. Can you say suspense? Wolf and his colleagues, Emily Baxter, Simmons, Finley, and Edmunds set out to find the victims and catch a killer with the clock literally ticking!

One of the very best aspects of this book is the dark humor blended within tremendously snappy, realistic dialogue.  So many of the exchanges between the characters made me laugh and then in the next instance I’d be holding my breath as one more victim’s time looked to be running out. Speaking of time running out, the story is told in straightforward narration (yes!) with short chapters broken up by date and time which contributed to the relentless pace. What I especially liked was that many of the chapters ended in mini-cliffhangers which ensured that I was staying up late for one more chapter.

As I keep saying, this book is pure fun, but if you’re a die hard stickler for complete police procedural realism you might have some issues throughout. I didn’t for one second mind suspending my disbelief in places but some might.  When all was said and done, I thought the ending was perfect for the story and I’ll be waiting with fingers crossed that we haven’t seen the last of these characters.

If you’re looking for a well-written, truly unique, out of the box serial killer mystery look no further than Ragdoll! I think it’s going to be a huge success

Many thanks to my friend Amy at NovelGossip for sending me a copy of this fun read!

REVIEW: A WELCOME MURDER By Robin Yocum

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Published April 4, 2017 by Seventh Street Books

After his unspectacular professional baseball career ends with a knee injury in Toledo, Ohio, Johnny Earl gets busted for selling cocaine. After serving seven years in prison, all he wants to do is return to his hometown of Steubenville, retrieve the drug money he stashed before he went to jail, and start a new life where no one has ever heard of Johnny Earl.
However, before he can leave town with his money, Johnny is picked up for questioning in the murder of Rayce Daubner, the FBI informant who had set him up on drug charges in the first place. Then his former prison cellmate shows up–a white supremacist who wants the drug money to help fund an Aryan nation in the wilds of Idaho.
Five memorable characters, each with a separate agenda, come together in this layered tale of murder, deceit, and political intrigue.
 

******

Can I just say that Robin Yocum’s books have the best book covers and titles I’ve come across in a long time. There is something about the colors and haziness that draws you in and when coupled with the intriguing titles just beg you to pick up the book. I mean we all say we try not to judge a book by it’s cover but it’s so hard when it’s the first thing you see and his are just tops! I recently reviewed his Edgar nominated novel A Brilliant Death which you can read here if you missed that 5 star review, so I was really looking forward to starting A Welcome Murder.

The novel is set in the small Ohio town of Steubenville, which being an Ohio native and still living here,  I have never been to Steubenville although I have drove through nearby areas now and again. I absolutely love that Yocum sets his books in a small town which, coming from one myself, I know have their own little ways of operating. We are first introduced to Johnny Earl who, fresh out of a seven year prison stint for drug dealing, realizes he’s going to be the prime “person of interest” in the murder that’s been committed. Not that he cares about the victim, he just doesn’t want to be sent back to prison. I have to say, I liked Johnny and I liked the flow of the story with him narrating. He’s one of those characters who’s done some really stupid things but there’s something about them you still like and want to root for…that’s Johnny Earl for me.

The story continues with four more alternating perspectives telling the tale. There’s Sheriff Francis Roberson who was a friend of Johnny’s in high school, Dena Marie (Johnny’s girlfriend in high school), Vincent “Smoochie” Xenakis (town wimp who’s currently married to Dena Marie ), and Allison who’s currently married to Sheriff Robinson. Whew…a lot of alternating first person perspectives right there and although the author successfully manages to tie everyone together and keep the loose threads from tangling, the many alternating perspectives lost me for a couple reasons. One…I really only connected with Johnny and Francis and I would’ve been happier if the book just alternated between the two of them. In fact, I really disliked the other 3 characters, especially “Smoochie” who’s name and character I found somewhat annoying. I also found the complete personality shift for him to be over the top.  Second, I felt like just when I found a rhythm to the story it would again change to a different perspective which left me feeling a little frustrated. I think this boils down to personal reading preferences and I just prefer less narrators.

While the five alternating perspectives didn’t work for me, what I did enjoy was the fantastic dialogue which the author seamlessly weaves throughout the novel that created such realistic conversations which kept the pace fairly quick. This, coupled with the fact that I had my detective hat on the entire time trying to figure out which person was the killer and why,  effectively kept me on my toes which I liked. I’m happy to report that my theory of ‘whodunit’ was completely wrong…I love it when that happens! Robin Yocum fooled me again and I couldn’t be happier about that.

Many thanks to Robin Yocum and Cheryl Quimba from Seventh Street Books for my copy of A Welcome Murder. I’m happy to provide an honest review.

BLOG TOUR AND REVIEW: DEADLY GAME By Matt Johnson

I’m thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Matt Johnson’s Deadly Game which is available now in the UK and June 1 for the US. It’s published by the wonderful Orenda Books

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BLURB

Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed. Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered. Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK. On the home front, Finlay’s efforts to protect his wife and child may have been in vain, as an MI5 protection officer uncovers a covert secret service operation that threatens them all… Picking up where the bestselling Wicked Game left off, Deadly Game sees Matt Johnson’s damaged hero fighting on two fronts. Aided by new allies, he must not only protect his family but save a colleague from an unseen enemy … and a shocking fate. 

REVIEW: 

This is my first experience with Matt Johnson’s writing and I have to say I’m very impressed. I had every intention of reading Wicked Game, the first book in the Robert Finley series, but time has gotten away from me, life has intervened as it often does and I just couldn’t get to it, unfortunately. I say that because if you have the time you should really start with book 1 as I’m positive you’d get an even better feel for the characters and the ongoing story arc of Robert as well as who’s who in M15 and M16. Also, there’s definitely spoilers involved in this book as to who the “bad” guys were in book 1 as well as who got killed etc. So, that begs the question…how did I do with jumping in with book 2?

In all honesty, it took me awhile, maybe 50 or so pages to get a handle on the storyline, characters, plot direction etc but that isn’t the fault of the author at all, it was simply a matter of me not having read book 1 and also trying to get my bearings on the many terms and positions of a criminal justice system in another country. There’s a lot to get a handle on as I thought the details involving M15, M16, SAS, Operation Cyclone, etc were heavy, yet completely authentic. Obviously, Matt Johnson’s background as an ex-cop and soldier play heavily in the plot and it was all the more realistic for it. At one point, it reminded me so much of an episode of Homeland that I realized I REALLY better pay careful attention to plot details or, as often happens to me when I’m watching Homeland, I’ll find myself completely lost.

I feel that the blurb does a good job of giving you an idea of the story so I’d like to talk about some of the story elements I thought worked so well to create this action thriller that I think will really appeal to fans of political jigsaw puzzles:

  • The characters – the author managed to create multidimensional, realistic characters, many of whom I liked (Robert, Kevin, Lynn, Jenny) and MANY I just had a suspicious feeling I couldn’t trust (Toni, Howard…well just about everyone else:)
  • The dialogue – Can I just say…excellent! I can’t imagine how hard it must be to create dialogue in a thriller that needs to instill a sense a urgency, fear, anger, all the while being completely realistic.
  • Narrative structure – The plot follows a fairly linear timeline (which I appreciate) starting in Romania in 1999 then continuing on in the early 2000s in London with action packed jumps to places like Egypt! It’s narrated for the most part by Robert with occasional chapters from other people’s perspectives which I thought worked perfectly to keep the pace flowing as well as keeping me on my toes as to who was (possibly) telling the truth or lying.
  • Relevant, disturbing storyline – I always appreciate when I can learn something as well as be entertained from a book I read and (sadly) I learned so much about sex trafficking I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading the book. So heartbreaking and anger producing and you just know when you’re reading that Matt Johnson knows what he’s writing about. I had no idea and it was shocking to say the least.

If you enjoy political action thrillers ala Homeland I think you’ll find much to enjoy in Matt Johnson’s Deadly Game

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About Matt Johnson: 

Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for 25 years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1993, and one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital. Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. His bestselling thriller, Wicked Game, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, was the result.

 

Be sure to stop by the other awesome blogs on the Deadly Game tour

DEADLY GAME BLOG TOUR POSTER